The Ottavia Project

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, unless it’s a woman singing opera scorned. At least that’s what Divergence Vocal Theater’s inaugural performance shows us. The nontraditional production, The Ottavia Project, blends Monteverdi’s opera L’incoronazione di Poppea and Seneca’s play Octavia with music by Bach and Rameau.

Poppea and Octavia basically tell the same story, just spread apart in time by about 1,600 years,” Divergence Vocal Theater Artistic Director Misha Penton tells us. The cast of characters in both is the same. Octavia is Nero’s stepsister and wife. When Nero takes Poppaea Sabina as his lover, she becomes empress, so Octavia ends up banished. The Ottavia Project tells this story, complete with various assassins, backstabbing plays for power, and staged suicides — all of it making for great opera.

“What’s great about the classical arts is that you see these great big characters. They have love triangles, just like the ones that we see today in movies and on TV. It’s really the same type of intrigue — those stories never get old,” says Penton, who also sings in the show (audiences will recognize her from Opera Vista and Mercury Baroque productions).

See who survives the show today at 2 p.m. Barnevelder Movement and Arts Complex, 2201 Preston. For information, call 713-529-1819 or visit $20.
Sun., Nov. 16, 2 p.m., 2008

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